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There are people who can pick out a prominent city skyline because that’s their hometown or their favorite place in the world. City skylines like Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. We recognize Mickey’s silhouette because of his bubbly mouse ears, or Michael Jordan because of his dunk.

And then there are people who recognize an ivory-billed woodpecker on cover art because they live in Arkansas.

Guess which camp I belong in.

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I first saw the cover art for Where Things Come Back over the summer when Jordyn and Kelly read and rated it on Goodreads. It could be argued that this cover doesn’t look like a YA novel. (Clue #1: “No SGiPD present.”) Which is totally fine, because I’m in complete agreement. This cover just radiates a literary vibe. Its wood-grained illustration and complementary colors seem like gatekeepers to some mysterious story I need to know about. Kudos to S&S designer Michael McCartney and illustrator Grady McFerrin – it’s executed brilliantly.

Just like its paperback cousin.

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When I first saw the paperback cover on Twitter, perhaps there was a brief moment where I stopped breathing. That’s a bit dramatic, but I can guarantee there was a moment of stillness, because the combination of color, silhouette and simplicity is nothing short of striking. The talented Joel Holland is the artist responsible for illustrating WTCB’s paperback counterpart. Even more cheers for its typographic elements, with the Hopkins blurb fashioned into the design and not stickered-on as an afterthought.

I’m told that the blue is even more vibrant in person, as well. From who? you may be asking. Oh I’m so glad you asked! This post marks the beginning of a three-part series featuring author Corey Whaley and designer Michael McCartney, who will be stopping by the blog tomorrow and Wednesday to talk more cover design. You may even see an alternate cover. But trust me, you won’t want to miss these interviews.

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Bryan Williams